This season, we’re blessed with a set of Lenten devotionals by contributing author Lee Hinkle. Find out more about Lee at the bottom of this article, or at hinkledownunder.com.
John 13:31-35 (ESV)
One of my favorite quotes about the church comes from Annie Dillard: “Nothing could more surely convince me of God’s unending mercy than the continued existence on earth of the church.”
Sometimes, maybe too often, we can see how far we have fallen in keeping this commandment. It is easy for us to call to mind times when we (or others close to us) have been hurt, turned aside, or neglected by the body of believers we were a part of. Each of our individual lives are packed full of responsibilities and requirements and desires that sometimes, maybe too often, keep us from turning our focus to those around us. We can easily think that someone else in the body is caring for those that need it.
There will never come a point in our natural lives that we will be whole.
This process, or maybe better said, this lifestyle of love for others, only springs from a place where we know and trust the Truth that we are loved by God. It is only in that place that we can move away from our inward turned heart and see those around us.
How do people know that we are Jesus disciples? Love.
Father, your mercy and grace is what keeps us together. It is only through the power of the resurrection that we are able to love one another. Forgive us when we fail. Forgive us when our selves, our agendas, our desires, our fears keep us from running toward each other. Jesus, give us power to hold together so we can proclaim your love to a world that needs it so desperately – and to ourselves, because we are right there as well. We need your love. Amen.
Find a small group of believers, within your local church body or in your area, with which to commit, empowered by the Spirit, to know, love and understand each other. Push into each others’ lives.
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Lee Hinkle is an American pastor who, with his family of 7, felt God’s call to pack up and plant a church in Fremantle, a town in Perth, Western Australia. Last Summer, the Hinkles left Indianapolis and arrived in Oz to begin their work. You can follow their adventures at hinkledownunder.com.